Second Look: David Levithan’s LOVE IS THE HIGHER LAW

I will preface this review by saying that I’ve had this book on my shelf for over a year.  Every time I would go to pick it up, I’d get all teary about the subject matter.  This week, I needed something short to read that was NOT a sweeping paranormal romance epic.  LOVE it was.

What’s It About?
LOVE IS THE HIGHER LAW centers around three teens – relative strangers- who live in New York City.  The novel opens on the day that two planes hit the World Trade Center and progresses through the one year anniversary.

Told in alternating POV chapters – Claire, Peter and Jasper recount where they were when the Towers were hit.  Each character tries to deal with the realization that New York was attacked and that the City will never be the same.

Thoughts
I loved it.  I was a little teary during the first part, for the Day Of.  At one point, Jasper turns on the TV and thinks something along the lines of, “Is this a Hollywood sci-fi movie?”  And I remember thinking nearly the same thing when I first saw the coverage 11 years ago.

I enjoyed that all of the characters were so different.  They all have to learn to cope with the tragedy in their own way and they have their own responses to it.  Claire becomes a humanitarian, doing what she can to ease the pain and suffering of others.  Jasper shuts down.  He’s unsure how to deal with what has happened and so he just locks out the world.  Peter uses music as a way of understanding what happened.

The progress throughout the short novel (it’s roughly 160+ pages) is satisfying.  Levithan doesn’t dwell.  He doesn’t fill in the gap of months between when things are slow and don’t happen.  He urges things forward.  Each chapter shows a growth or change of one of the three main characters.  This could definitely be a plus for reluctant readers who are anxious about large books.

While Katie says this isn’t her favorite DL novel, I haven’t read anything else by him.  I loved it and would recommend it.  I’m thinking of incorporating it into an English class because I think it’s so important to understand what happened that day and for the kids to be able to read about the reactions of people their own age who were there and experienced it, even if it’s in fiction.

Rating… 9/10.  Definitely.

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